This seminal disc now almost seems like the manifesto for a whole new strain of minimalism that has found an enormously receptive audience. It represented a breakthrough for Estonian composer Arvo Part, whose music–like that of his European colleagues John Tavener and Henryk Gуrecki–pursues an austerely beautiful simplicity that suggests spiritual illumination. Fratres, given here in two versions, one for piano and violin and the other for 12 cellos, repeatedly intones a sequence resembling chant to convey a sensibility that seems at once archaic and beyond time. Violinist Gidon Kremer, for whom Part wrote the exquisitely contemplative and hypnotic title work, grasps the music's koan-like idiom, allowing an inner fullness to resonate through the most fragile, ethereal wisps of tone against the mysterious clangings of prepared piano.
The music of Arvo Part contains a message which appeals to the deepest spiritual needs of our time.Neeme Jarvi
Marshalling orchestral and choral forces under the direction of Tonu Kaljuste, this new Arvo Part album, produced by Manfred Eicher and realized, like all Part’s ECM discs, with the composer’s participation, is a major event. Sacred music predominates, by turns monumentally powerful and tenderly fragile.
To celebrate Arvo Part's 80th birthday, Gimell presents a new recording of some of the Estonian composer's finest a cappella choral works. This is the first album of contemporary music from The Tallis Scholars since their famous 1984 recording of works by John Tavener. The program here includes several major works including the Magnificat, Sieben Magnificat-Antiphonen, Triodion and I Am the True Vine. The album's title refers to the compositional style Part developed in the 1970s and now employs in most of his works. This simple style was influenced by the composer's mystical experiences with sacred chant. Tintinnabuli works often have a slow and meditative tempo and a minimalist approach to both notation and performance.
Stephen Layton and Polyphony have a long and fruitful relationship with the music of Arvo Pärt. Their recording of Triodion and other choral works (CDA67375) won a Gramophone Award and became a cult classic. The extraordinary purity of Polyphony’s singing is the perfect vehicle for music of such clean, elemental simplicity, such cathartic calm. This third Pärt album from Stephen Layton and Polyphony reaches right back, intriguingly, to the composer’s youthful modernist phase and spans nearly five decades—from 1963 to 2012—in the process. As with the album Triodion, it reflects an increasingly broad spread of languages and sources in Pärt’s chosen texts. Latin, German and English are joined here by Church Slavonic and Spanish. A range of biblical texts are set alongside ancient prayers.
Pärt's 1987 release, Arbos, shows the composer working within his medium, bringing forth a body of music sacred in sound and message and presenting new compositional techniques. Utilizing a limited palette of tones, arranged in repeating patterns, these works are often (understandably) categorized with the works of Glass, Reich, and Riley. The tonal palette is often borrowed from European medieval styles, and this, in conjunction with the liturgical subject matter, make these new compositions feel centuries old.
2009's Tabula Rasa is the third album from Swedish melodic power metal band Bloodbound. The band made a splash with their debut (Nosferatu), which featured former Tad Morose frontman Urban Breed, but by their second album (2007's Book of the Dead) Breed and the band parted ways. While not a concept album per se, most songs tie in with the concept of tabula rasa, have some connection with a literal translation thereof, or have a lyrical foundation associated with literature mentioning tabula rasa. It will be especially interesting to fans of Urban Breed's previous work in Tad Morose.
A new release from Polyphony, with Stephen Layton at the helm, always brings with it an assurance of singing of the highest possible calibre. Bring together a choir of such quality and the composer responsible for some of the most beautiful, transcendent music ever written, and the resultant disc is surely what must be one of, if not the most spectacular releases of the year. New works from Arvo Pärt are invariably cherished, and this disc contains no fewer than five world premiere recordings—Dopo la vittoria, Nunc dimittis, Littlemore Tractus, My heart's in the Highlands and Salve regina. It was recorded in the presence of the enraptured composer earlier this year at the Temple Church, London. This is a disc of achingly lovely music at its most mesmeric—prepare to be stunned.